Self-Aware Pawns


f_doyle_icon.gif f_niles_icon.gif

Scene Title Self-Aware Pawns
Synopsis Doyle and Niles talk about how they're well aware that Edward is using them. It makes sense that the two craziest members of the time-travelling crew would get along best - up until the power posturing begins.
Date May 19, 2009

Textile Factory 17

The puppeteer is growing restless.

Avoiding public since his near-capture and fortuitous escape due to both fate and Niles' intervention, Eric Doyle's been lingering about the factory complex entertaining himself with his puppets - and, one presumes, with Nathan Petrelli. The less thought about that, probably the better, the puppeteer's modus operandi the sort that nightmares are wrought of. Not the clean, sanitized nightmares of Hollywood movies, but the sort that lurk in the back of one's mind when they waken, leaving one afraid to even speak of them. Soon forgotten. But that doesn't mean they didn't happen.

The bald head of the man bobs slightly as he peels long, thin strips of reddish meat from the crumpled plastic bag that holds the remainder of the animal flesh, laying them out upon the pale interior of split french bread, juices soaking pink across the dough. A step away and towards the fridge, doing a little dance-step as his musical humming breaks into a few lyrics, "…Missus Robinson, Jesus loves you more… oh oh oh…" The door's pulled open, and he bends down with a stretch of his suspenders, one hand reaching within for the mayonnaise.

The electromagnetic replicator has been restless as well. Though his restlessness manifests in the form of murders - some bloody, some with the cleanliness of an electric chair. His mind's been fracturing, sanity flaking off in tiny pieces the more he makes use of his ability. When your perception is split five different ways, it puts a strain on the psyche. And the psyche of a man who has been locked away for ten years is a fragile thing indeed.

There's the creaking sound of a heavy metal door being pushed inwards as Niles steps over the threshold. He holds a paper grocery bag and his hair is faintly dewed from the rain outside. "Oh Mister Doyle? Are you home?"

"In the kitchen," Eric's voice calls out, before he turns away from the fridge with an idle push of its door closed. He steps along over towards the counter, fingers curling about the jar to twist it open and set it to one side. Still humming, he reaches out to lift a butter knife, stirring it 'round inside the jar and spreading it on the other side of the bread.

This would all seem fairly benign were it not for the fact that when Niles switches which arm is holding the bag, blood splatter is evident across his shirt. There is also deep crimson staining the undersides of his nails. It's made even more disturbing by the fact that he does not need to lay a hand on someone to kill them. He just…likes to. Or feels the need, rather.

"I picked up a few supplies. How is Mister President?" He sets the bag down on the kitchen and starts to unpack snack-type foods, the kind of stuff not apt to go bad.

"I'm beginning to suspect that he finds his accomodations unsatisfying," Doyle replies with a jovial little chuckle under his breath that somehow doesn't match with the coolness of his gaze as he looks up to the other man, heavy lids shadowing the large eyes that track the man as he moves about the kitchen to unpack the cans and bags of snack-foods, "And how are things going with… what was it that Ray had you doing, again?"

"I have been a good little red herring." Up until the point when Niles told a cop that he was a red herring. He idly pushes cans up onto a shelf. "I get a sense that my role is nearly finished." And that means he's nearly run out of use. And that means he suspects that Mr. Ray will do away with him. "And yourself? Been doing anything other than keeping your head down and babysitting?"

"I am bored," states the puppeteer in utter deadpan, "Out of my god damned mind."

A shake of Doyle's head as he puts the sandwich together, squishing it with both hands, the edges pinched a bit to lessen the chance of anything slipping out. A flicker of his gaze up settles on the other man, and he observes quietly, "I'm starting to doubt that Ray has any true purpose in mind at all."

"Oh, I think Mister Ray has a purpose. I just think we're all vague pawns. I have no doubt that each of us is dispensible and that he would not hesitate to…end our threads if his mighty predictions deemed it worthy." Niles grins a toothy grin. Strange how he doesn't seem disturbed by this. "But, given our abilities I believe he would find it difficult to eliminate us himself. So he may set us up in a situation where his enemies will do it for him." He may just be a bitter, untrusting man, or he might be right. Ten years in prison gives one a healthy dose of cynicism.

"Oh, that goes without saying," Eric admits, reaching over with one hand that falls to a stool — scooting it over to him, he slides himself up with a grunt on the wooden surface, settling in and adjusting the set of the plate before him. A tap-tap-tap of his fingers against the 'lid' of his sandwich, and then he picks it up, eyes closing as he takes a hearty bite. He chews slowly, then swallows, setting it back down and asking, "So what do you plan to do about it?"

"Well now, that's the tricky part, innit?" Niles lifts a shoulder. "None of us want to see our own future come to pass, and I do believe that Edward is trying to change our timeline. And given how little he's done to reassure any of us or secure our loyalty, he's no doubt expecting us to turn against him. It may even be part of his overall plan." He rubs his chin thoughtfully.

"It's really annoying working with someone whose ability is, 'supposedly'," Eric's hands come up, fingers crooking a bit to make air-quotes before he reaches back for his sandwich once more, "To predict what you're supposed to do. I just want to be left alone." The last is muttered a bit as he tears a bite off the sandwich, chewing, swallowing.

"Well Eric, if you really want that, I would suggest getting yourself somewhere Edward Ray doesn't know about. Else he might send someone after you once he decides you're no longer useful to his plans." Niles is a pragmatist. He might be making Edward out to be colder than he actually is - but that's because he's imagining what he would do, were he in Dr. Ray's place. Says more about him than it does about Ed's motives.

"He knows better." Eric shakes his head a little, pausing before he takes the bite, looking up and over with a wistful, rueful half-smile, "So do I."

"Now what might you have on Doctor way that would have you say that, Eric?" Niles tilts his head and puts hand to chin, thoughtfully. "Come now. I saved your life. Surely I'm owed a secret or two."

A low chuckle shakes Eric's shoulders a bit, his head shaking as he reaches back for the sandwich. "Edward doesn't have a negator in this little… group of his," he observes, a smile quirking up at one corner of his lips as he regards the french bread for a long moment, "Honestly, if I wanted to kill all of you, I could without breaking a sweat." A roll of his eyes, and he adds, "And if I left… well, there's always the chance he does plan to make good on his claims. I can't risk passing that up."

"Yes, and I could simply move out of range and send my duplicates at you from half the city away," says Niles, the words dull on his tongue. Posturing among villains. Dangerous business. "Let's not get into this 'I could kill you all with a thought' thing, mm?" A beat, then, "So just what has he promised you?"

Another bite of sandwich is taken, chewed, swallowed and set down. "That's why I'd use you to do it," he murmurs, daubing at his meat-juice stained lips with a napkin before he looks back over, a crook of a smile up at one corner of his lips, "Oddly, I think you're the only one that would honestly just leave me alone if I asked you to. I appreciate that."

A heavy sigh, then, and he looks up to the ceiling, lips twisting in a frown for a moment. "Nothing… specific. My life back. I don't know if he can honestly offer it, though."

"How reassuring," says Niles dully. "Can you actually use someones' power while you puppet them? Seems as though that would be quite difficult with an ability like mine which involves mental focus rather than muscle control." That's not a boast, rather, genuine curiosity. The group of time travelers really know very little about each other.

"I would walk out that door and never cross your path again if you asked me to, Mister Doyle. I have done what I came back here to accomplish. I've had my revenge and I've done what I can to ensure that the young man I am now will not grow up to be me. What happens to me from here on in, is irrelevant. The only choice I have left to make is how much I will let Edward Ray use me as a pawn."

"Do you remember how we got here?" A smile curls across Eric's tired face as he looks to the other man, brows raising slightly, "That little Japanese man… I made him take us here. Admittedly…" He regards the other man, his eyes hooding slightly, "…I'm not sure how it'd work, since you can see through them… I wonder…"

Niles doesn't like that look from Doyle. His jaw tightens. "The man whose ability was switched with Mister Petrelli. I recall, yes." There is a glance to his watch. "I've got some things to attend to. Let me know if you need anything. Though I have to restrict my movements as well. The authorities know who I am."

Another low chuckle shakes Doyle's shoulders a bit as he hefts the sandwich up in his hands. "What is it that you want, Niles?" A glance over, "Before you go."

"What do I want?" Niles balls up the receipt from the grocery bag and tosses it into a nearby in. "I want a do-over, Mister Doyle." And then he heads for the door.

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